Former district leader picked for board

Duane Dishno, who filled in as high school superintendent last year, replaces late trustee Brian Garland.

May 04, 2012|By Mona Shadia

The Huntington Beach Union High School District board on Thursday appointed a former teacher, principal and superintendent to replace trustee Brian Garland, who passed away in March.

The trustees picked former Huntington Beach City School District Supt. Duane Dishno to serve until the next general election.

"What an honor," Dishno said. "What an honor to be selected, and what an honor to be able to step into the position that was filled by Brian Garland."

Garland had battled a heart condition since suffering a heart attack at age 46. He was 71 when he died.

Although Garland's term would not have been up until 2014, Dishno will serve until November in accordance with the California Education Code, said board President Michael Simons.


Eleven applicants applied for Garland's seat, and seven were interviewed in open session during Thursday's board meeting.

"His knowledge separated him from the other candidates," Simons said.

Dishno is not new to the district and has a background and experience similar to that of Garland, who also worked as a teacher, principal and school board member for two Huntington Beach districts.

The two crossed paths at the city school district, where Dishno climbed the ladder from principal to superintendent while Garland served on the board for 25 years.

Dishno stepped in as interim superintendent at Union High from January to June 2011 when Supt. Van Riley retired. He was replaced by current Supt. Greg Plutko.

"He could hit the ground running," Simons said, adding that Dishno's experience with Union High and the community was vital, especially because the district doesn't have enough time to bring a less experienced appointee up to date between now and November.

Dishno said he hasn't made a decision on whether to run for the seat in November, but is keeping his options open.

He said he felt his experience afforded him the option to help the district through budget cuts while also ensuring the best education for students.

"Having worked in that district and having lived in the community, I have an affinity for the school districts in the city," he said. "I received so much from this community as a parent and as a citizen and as an educator, and I wanted to give back a little bit, too."

Twitter: @MonaShadia

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